Limited Submission: 2020 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award


The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is designed to provide the early investment needed to launch new faculty members into successful scientific careers in food and agriculture. Investing a substantial amount in faculty members within the first three years of their careers will allow them to pursue innovative and transformational ideas uninhibited by the pressure of identifying their next grant. The New Innovator Award seeks to promote career advancement of highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in food and agriculture and bring innovative, ground-breaking research initiatives and thinking to bear on problems facing food and agriculture.

Within the scope of the New Innovator Program, investigators will have the freedom to explore new avenues of inquiry that arise during their research. Therefore, FFAR is interested in the program of research to be explored and its impact as opposed to a list of very specific aims. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required but may be included. An overall and annual budgets will be required, but connecting them to specific aims will not be necessary. The review process emphasizes the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the program, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important research problem. FFAR always welcomes partnerships that will enhance the research program. Therefore, collaboration with others is encouraged.

It is expected that through this program investigators will have the ability to pursue highly creative ideas, to firmly establish their early lines of research into important food and agriculture scientific areas, and provide stability in funding during their critical early career years by reducing the time spent on writing applications.

FFAR Challenge Areas:

  • Advanced Animal Systems
  • Health-Agriculture Nexus
  • Next Generation Crops
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Urban Food Systems

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount
  • Up to $150,000/year for up to three years.
  • Estimated number of awards: Up to 10 awards
  • Matching funds are NOT required, however, matching is encouraged to broaden the scope of the program.

Faculty members at eligible institutions with the creative ideas, skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research program as Principal Investigator are invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support.

The nominated faculty member must have been hired on or after August 1, 2016 for a tenure-track or equivalent position and may work in any discipline or any department within the institution. Preference will be given to individuals near the onset of their independent research career and who are within eight years of receiving a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Individuals with significant research experience prior to obtaining their faculty position will not be considered for this award.

Selection Criteria
  • Impact and Outcome: Does the research program address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the Challenge Area? Did the applicant identify how FFAR is uniquely positioned to fund this research program? If the program is successful, will it create new paradigms or challenge existing ones in the U.S. and/or global food systems? If applicable, did the applicant address any potential for commercializing research output? Will the applicant train the next generation of food and agriculture research scientists, and if so, how?
  • Investigator: Is the PI well suited to the research program? Does the PI show the potential to have significant impact on his/her field? Does the PI have the appropriate experience and training? Is the effort committed sufficient to perform the proposed research? Will the PI be an inspiring mentor who will attract and motivate students and post-docs in their lab?
  • Novelty, Innovation and Originality: Does the application adequately discuss the significance of the challenge that is being addressed in the proposal and how the research will contribute to a solution? Has the applicant demonstrated that this research has not been done elsewhere, or that this research accelerates a current research challenge or addresses a challenge in a new or innovative manner?
  • Technical Merit and Feasibility: Are the goals and objectives of the proposed research program clear? Are the overall scientific approach and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate? Did the applicant identify potential risks to successfully complete the research goals/objectives and propose to address them? Is the data and results management plan outlined by the applicant adequate? Will the PI share the data and research results with the food and agriculture community during and at the end of the project?
  • Partnerships: Did the applicant detail the partnerships involved in the program? Does the applicant propose build a diverse team featuring industry, nonprofit, state or local partnerships? Are those partners integral to the proposed program?
Limitation Details

An Institution may submit one nominee.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:
  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Nominee name, UGA position, home department, email, and start date of current position (must be on or after August 1, 2016)
    • The FFAR Challence Area (see above)
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • A two-page Curriculum vitae
Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to

For questions directly related to this program, please contact

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